LAKEWOOD RANCH — Marco Padilla says he and his Lakewood Ranch teammates are not taking any prisoners.
The Mustangs believe this team is the best in the program's history and their goal is a state final four.
Padilla showed he is serious with three goals in leading host Lakewood Ranch to a 9-1 Class 4A, District 10 semifinal victory over Lakewood on Thursday. The hat trick gives the Venezuela native 23 goals for the season.
"It's not an individual thing. It's a team thing," Padilla said. "It's the mentality we have. Right before the game we said this is our home and this is our field and everything is ours this year. When everyone on the team thinks that way it's impossible to beat us. We are all of one mind. We have no mercy."
Lakewood Ranch (18-3-3), the tournament's top seed, wasted little time getting its scoring barrage going over Lakewood (6-8).
Jacob Severson scored less than eight minutes in with an assist from Padilla, who then knocked in two straight goals.
Padilla, a senior, added an unassisted goal, then Zach Reda put two more into the net to give the Mustangs a 5-0 halftime lead.
"We beat them early in the season (6-0) but there was no chance we would take them lightly," Padilla said. "We came into this game undefeated in the district, but we don't underestimate any team."
The Mustangs banged out 25 shots on goal while limiting the Spartans to two.